For my presentation please click on this link, July 19 LinkedInPPT, this article has been duplicated on my blog where I was able to upload the actual presentation. This presentation to Chinese Educators is about creating a shared vision for learning. The moral I emphasized was honesty, or acadmic integrity. I felt the purpose of this conference theme was due to the growing debate in Chinese society, actually almost all societies, of the growing influence Social Media has on students. The angle I took was that the changes in the educational system, society and technologies over time are offering increasing opportunities and temptations to cheat.
The assumption I lead with is that Social Media has assumed the role of teaching what is right and wrong in society. A role that schools, in China, had dominated for decades, especially as parents left the raising of their child to the grandparents so that they could go out and secure the child’s future. It was an easy vacuum to create when you consider how China planned so many aspects of peoples lives before the opening of the economy. Grandparents in this respect only had one source of information to rely on, it was the government institutions. So schools became the end all be all for moral development. Based on what many of us know about Chinese curriculum and examinations, its no wonder for many decades these schools produced robots.
Th presentation moved to defining values and how they are set on a group’s beliefs. The following is from reference.com, which I felt summed up this point nicely: ‘The word “evaluate” explains how values are surmised. People evaluate situations to decide their beliefs and then separate what is important and acceptable. These values then serve as a guide to the morals of the group. For example, by assessing that telling the truth is a good behaviour, a person has set honesty as a value. That person then incorporates that value into his view of morality, deeming honesty to be right and dishonesty to be wrong.’ Societies laws are derived from moral codes and institutions, such as schools, are responsible for making sense of and enforcing those codes.
I wanted the presentation to be practical so I planned a Visioning Process for the over 1000 educators. If morals were something they were expected to return to work and begin reinforcing, then they should have at least some notion of how to define, align and reinforce those morals. I felt it also important to differentiate for them the difference between good behavior as an output and the self actualization of the moral, which is the outcome. Outputs and Outcomes in respect to moral education is the difference between managing behavior and knowing how to behave.
Interestingly, the last two slides always seem to interest my Chinese audiences the most, as I think they mistake them as a rubric. What I hoped to instil in them is that moral development is a journey that requires setting aside some of our current assumptions and practices. That just because we achieve the desired behaviour or result, doesn’t mean we have achieved the outcome.